The inaugural National Indigenous Business Month kicks off today, looking to boost the development of the Indigenous business sector by helping corporates and governments understand the role Indigenous businesses can play in our communities.
The Month is an initiative of the MURRA Indigenous Master Class Program at the Melbourne Business School, which was created to address the economic disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians and to help raise the capabilities of Indigenous businesses to grow.
It will see five live events held around the country, including panel discussions, lectures, and networking opportunities, as well as a virtual event presenting research and policy advice on effective business education interventions for Indigenous enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Dr Michelle Evans, program director, said, “We want kids to see that their future lies not just in arts and sport. Business also requires creativity and provides a path to community growth and individual aspirations.”
The Month aims to give the Indigenous business sector a voice and have Indigenous businesses leading the conversation around Indigenous business development; to showcase the variety, depth, and skill of the Indigenous business sector and to break down stereotypes; to encourage young Indigenous people to think of developing business as a career option; and to provide networking opportunities for Indigenous businesses and the MURRA program’s 71 alumni.
With the Federal Government announcing earlier this year that it had set itself the target of having 3 percent of its procurement contracts with Indigenous suppliers by 2020, the event also hopes to educate those in procurement roles about the range and benefits of working with the Indigenous business sector, and show people that it is no longer just a “feel good option” to engage Indigenous business, but rather an option that makes good business sense.
There are no events geared towards the tech or startup sector as part of the Month, which shows how much work the Australian startup ecosystem has to do to in this space – there is a serious lack of events and programs targeting Indigenous Australians within the local startup scene as a whole.
Sydney accelerator muru-D – whose name ‘muru’ comes from an Indigenous word for ‘path’ – held a two day workshop in Redfern this past July in partnership with the Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Hub, looking at what entrepreneurship is and exploring lean startup methodology as a way to turn a great digital startup idea into reality. However, this initiative was one of a very small handful.
Find out more about National Indigenous Business Month here.
Image: MURRA graduates. Source: Melbourne Business School